Locker Room Conversations and Epiphanies
“It’s just good to be back in the locker room.” -William Green
I’ve taken the training outside this week including getting on a real bike for the first time in over a year. It’s been nice being out of the gym and into the fresh air this week, but it hasn’t been without its challenges. To the hills of Tennessee: You beat me into submission on Tuesday with your gentle rolling and all, but tomorrow it’s ON and your payback is coming. To the yellow lab and schnauzer that were off leash and came frolicking my way to say hello as I was struggling up a hill: Knock me off my bike once, shame on you. Knock me off my bike again tomorrow and I’ll admit defeat and we can go get some ice cream.
Yesterday was swim day and because I lack (unless buying a Slip n’ Slide counts) a pool of my own, I headed to the Y to get in my 800 meters. As much as I love being able to train outside, I found that after not being in the gym for a bit there are things that I miss; my beloved Silver Sneakers, of course, and more importantly, the conversations that take place in the locker room. My history with locker rooms is complicated. I have done everything in my power up until the start of my training to stay out of them. P.E. was considered an elective in the middle and high schools I went to so I padded my schedule each year with as many non-P.E. electives as possible. I was a guidance office helper and a student helper to one of the English teachers. I took shop, choir, art, band and whatever else kept me out of P.E. Looking back I wish I would have sucked it up and gone for it, but the thought of being in a locker room with girls who could scare the crap out of me with just one flick of the bows in their ponytails was simply too much.
Here in the present, I rather enjoy the routine of unpacking my bag, getting my hair ready for the pool and unintentionally eavesdropping on people’s conversations. In my defense, it’s a small locker room and people seem to have a lack of inhibition and an inability to use their inside voices once they’ve walked through the doors. I’m going to outline some of my favorites. (All names have been changed to protect the innocent.)
A stall-to-stall conversation between two girls:
Girl #1: “I can’t believe I’m still peeing. I had to go so bad.”
Girl #2: “Yeah, you sound like a water buffalo.”
Girl #1: “Yeah, but at least I’m not like Sarah. She’s a camel.”
Girl #2: “She totally is.”
(I didn’t realize that both water buffalos and camels have such exceptionally impressive bathroom habits.)
A shower-to-shower conversation between two Silver Sneakers:
SS #1: “I just read an article about how aspirin can prevent cancer.”
SS #2: “What? I can’t hear you.”
SS #1: (Loudly and slowly) “ASPIRIN. PREVENTS. CANCER.”
SS #2: “Oh. What kind?”
SS #1: “It said all kinds. Bone. lung and one I can’t remember the name of. The one in your rear end. Colon, I think.”
SS #2: “Set aside the article for me, will you?”
(I’m going to do some research on the aspirin cancer prevention theory. I’ve never heard that before, but it’s worth looking into.)
My most favorite is less conversation and more epiphany. The epiphany is that older women don’t seem struggle with the body confidence issues that we younger ones do. Of all the women I’ve seen in the locker room, the ones happiest to walk around naked and unashamed are the ones 65 and older. They must know something that we don’t. They must know that know that no matter what lotions, potions and plastic surgeons they spend their money on, some “things” are inevitably gonna head south. They must know that the most important things they’ve done in their lives don’t involve the plucking, nipping, tucking and “curing” of the inevitable changes in the female human body. I want that kind of confidence! I want that level of insight and self-knowledge. I want to be just like them. Without the public nudity part.